Home rule


The legislative session in Tallahassee prompted various attempts to anticipate local decision-making on several fronts. With the help of the Florida League of Cities and local officials and attorneys, including Roget Bryan, those attempts were thwarted.

Prior to a June 2 meeting at Founders Park Community Center, Scott Dudley of the Florida League of Cities presented Islamorada attorney Bryan with the “Home Rule Hero” accolade for providing analysis and contributions throughout the 2021 session on bills with ramifications for local municipalities. The Florida League of Cities formed in 1922 to shape legislation and share ideas and experiences, and more than 400 cities and towns are members today.

Local autonomy allows a city to solve its community problems with local solutions and minimal or no interference from the state. Recipients of the Home Rule Hero award are local, elected and unelected officials.

With constant attempts to preempt domestic rule, Dudley said the Florida League of Cities is a resource in Tallahassee for championing the ability of local governments to make decisions that reflect the opinions and needs of citizens. Contributions from lawyers, like Bryan, help the League of Cities understand the impacts of legislation on a city.

“We can usually read the legislation and say, ‘We think that’s bad enough for cities,’ (but) we’ll appeal to city attorneys and managers,” Dudley said. “Roget is one during the legislative session when we had questions about the impact of a bill in a municipality; he intervened and let us know what the impacts would be in Islamorada.

Bryan has assisted the Florida League of Cities with several complicated bills, including the Bert Harris Act which provides procedures and remedies for property owners whose property is excessively burdened by local government legislation. The League of Cities has opposed changes that disregard individual property rights or create one-sided lawsuits that shift financial burdens to local taxpayers.

Dudley said Bryan was also helpful with vacation rental and home-based business issues, as well as other legislation being considered this year that “doesn’t help municipalities or citizens at all.”

“Roget helped us break it down and helped us understand what the impacts of certain particular legislation would be where the rubber meets the road,” Dudley said. “I am honored to be here to present Roget with a Home Rule Hero certificate.”

This is the third year in a row that Bryan has received the title of Home Rule Hero. Selected unanimously in 2013 by the Village Council to be the first in-house attorney, Bryan provides legal advice regarding the interpretation of the Village Code and Florida Statutes. He also represents the village in litigation, prepares and reviews contracts and agreements, and assists in drafting ordinances and resolutions.

After receiving this honor, Bryan said it was a privilege to champion not only Islamorada by Florida municipalities.

“I’m a big defender of home rule. I think it’s the most effective layer of government, it’s where the things that have the most impact on citizens matter the most and it’s where they are felt the most,” said he declared. “To be able to help protect our ability to make those decisions for ourselves is truly a privilege and an honor.”

Tags : home rulelocal government
Teresa R. Cabrera

The author Teresa R. Cabrera